Building undergoes the first net zero energy commercial renovation in DC


The renovation of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) building and infrastructure is the first net zero energy commercial renovation in the District of Columbia. AGU, an international non-profit scientific association with 60,000 members in 137 countries, is making the building a living representation of the organization’s mission of science for the benefit of humanity with a net zero energy structure.

AGU looked to reuse and recycle as much material as possible during the demolition and renovation stages. Windows, sinks, and toilets were crushed and utilized in the new terrazzo flooring. A hydroponic phytoremediation green wall will recover conditioned air for free cooling and the rainwater collection and cistern systems reclaims water for irrigating the green wall and flushing toilets. AGU also installed a Huber system, the first of its kind in the U.S. This type of sewer heat exchange system extracts material from the sewer, screens the solids, and then pumps the liquid into the building to provide cooling and heating. AGU has been also been able to target net zero energy while located on a tight urban footprint by generating electricity through the installation of more than 700 solar panels.


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